- Say illegal operators do it in the presence of the police
- The police say they act by charging illegal operators
The Botswana Bus Operators Association (BBOA) has accused Botswana Police Service (BPS) of turning a blind eye on illegal transport operators, The Botswana Gazette has established.
So serious is the problem that BBOA has asked the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) to empower its member to act against the pirates.
The Chairman of BBOA, Tirafalo Mponang, raised concern about the phenomenon this week which he said is a growing problem. He asserted that BPS is aware of the situation but seems to be turning a blind eye on it.
Mponang said although they always seek police intervention, the illegal operators are increasingly acting with impunity and now dominate their operations, in the process crippling legitimate operators.
“The association has persistently raised the alarm but a number of illegal operators, especially those using seven-seater vehicles, keeps rising,” he said.
“The police are aware of these vehicles because the pirates load passengers openly and the police do not intervene to protect us as legitimate operators.”
Mponang asserted that the impunity of the illegal operators is so boundless that they even solicit for passengers with little courtesy.
“Passenger taunting is illegal and is causing chaos in the business,” he said. “But we are unable to stop it because we do not have the means to. Only the police have the authority to act but they just don’t.
“This has compelled us to write the Department of Road Transport and Safety about empowering the association to stop the illegal operations.
“The department has since asked us to adopt this as a resolution. Once the resolution is adopted, the department will be able to effect it as a part of regulating our operations.”
Reached for comment, BPS spokesperson Dipheko Motube dismissed the allegation of the police turning a blind eye on illegal operators.
“We are aware of these illegal operators and continue to charge them for their illegal operations,” he said.